by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
For twenty-somethings leaving a small town for the big city, the feeling of liberation and possibility can be exhilarating. Mom and dad, and their rules, are finally in the rearview mirror. But what’s up ahead is often worse—the welcoming arms of an even stricter authority known as leftist city government.
Many millennials are discovering this the hard way and making a U-turn. New Census Bureau data shows millennials are increasingly trading in urban life for the suburbs and even switching states entirely.
My home city of Philadelphia is a prime example. Here, 60,000 residents leave per year, and half of them are 18 to 34 years old. The reason? Urban centers like Philadelphia are bent on destroying the very conveniences that drew millennials to the city in the first place.
Here, the combined effect of sky-high taxes and outdated regulations add up to an all-out war on millennials. Or at least a war on the things they love the most. …
… Ridiculously high state and local tax burdens prevent young adults—who are just getting their lives together—from spending their income as they see fit, as well as meeting basic obligations like student loan payments. Locally, Philadelphia has the fifth-highest taxes per capita. Among the U.S. cities that tax more are New York and San Francisco, both of which also saw an exodus of young adults in the recent data.
Leaving places that become unaffordable and inconvenient is a form of protest. And the problem isn’t limited to high-tax cities. Young people are also leaving high-tax states.